2019 Conference Summary

November 19-20, 2019   –   Graduate Hotel, Minneapolis, MN

THEME – Over, Under, Through to CLC:
Strong partners, new allies, and fresh perspectives moving continuous living cover (CLC) farming forward

Click here for the GLBW 2019 Conference Summary Report

Click here for Conference Agenda

Click here for Speaker Bios

Conference Recap Video

The way we farm can be the solution to big challenges – climate, water, wildlife, vibrant rural communities.

*Shown here is the Main Street Project farm, Northfield, MN





DAY 1: Tuesday, November 19 


Toward a resilient agriculture. The Vision is Easy: Are “We” Willing?

  • Ricardo Salvador – Union of Concerned Scientists, Food & Environment Program Director and Senior Scientist
    • The video above shows the slides Dr. Salvador presented with a voice over – a big thank you to Jacob Grace for this!
    • Here is the Full set of prepared slides without voice over.  Note that Dr. Salvador did not present all of these slides at the conference.
  • Given that a resilient agricultural system requires re-design of today’s practices and policies, it is important to first understand the circumstances that led to the present system. On the basis of historical and economic analysis, this meditation makes the case that the current system is above all a social enterprise that reflects the values and worldview of centuries past. To effectively create a system that improves on the present one, which extracts and concentrates wealth, it is therefore essential to acknowledge that the fundamental shift necessary is only secondarily about field practices, technology and markets, and primarily about social values and worldview.

Taking Stock.   

What are the data telling us about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going?
How are we doing on State Nutrient Reduction Strategies?
What are we learning from the climate data?

Agroforestry as a Transformative Solution  to Address Complex Future Challenges

  • Agroforestry has been promoted as a set of practices for integrating trees and
    shrubs with crops and/or livestock, often as small isolated plantings. But our
    precarious future requires a broad transformative landscape solution. We face
    unprecedented challenges to feed a growing population, protect our limited
    resources, and adapt to variable and extreme climate conditions. To address
    these challenges, the purposeful deployment of productive polyculture “systems”
    of trees and shrubs could first be accomplished on marginal lands and through
    early adopters. These agroforestry sites would later serve as the nodes of
    diffusion across the broader landscape, as policy and market drivers are forced
    to adjust to changing conditions.
  • Click here for slides
    • Sarah Lovell – University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry, Director

Voices From the Farm, Reflecting Across Generations      

Lightning Talks     

Markets & Economic Drivers  for Continuous Living Cover

We all know that we won’t see Continuous Living Cover cropping systems on the
landscape without a strong market pull. Learn how consumers and companies
are driving market trends in the right direction, and hear updates on how
ecosystem service markets generally and carbon markets specifically show
promise as another way to financially incentivise farmers to adopt new crops and

Market Trends: Consumers & Companies Supporting Regenerative Ag
Valuing Soil, Water and Climate:
Continuous Living Cover Strategies – Breakout Sessions
Cover Crops
    • Click here for combined slides
    • Constance Carlson – Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and UMN Forever Green Initiative, Market Development
    • Rich Biske – The Nature Conservancy MN, ND & SD, Freshwater Conservation Program Director
    • Katherine Frels – UMN Forever Green Initiative, Researchers
    • Marie Raboin – Dane County Land and Water Resources Department
Perennial Biomass
Perennial Forage
  • Click here for combined slides
    • Jon Winsten – Winrock International, Senior Agricultural Economist
    • Laura Paine – Grasslands 2.0 Outreach Coordinator, Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, Program Director
Perennial Grains
  • Click here for combined slides
    • Theresa Keaveny – Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (SFA), Executive Director
    • Silvopasture and Oak Savanna Restoration
      Diomy Zamora – University of Minnesota Extension, PI
    • Current Silvopasture Research and Education
      Ashley Conway – Center for Agroforestry, University of Missouri – Assistant Research Professor
    • Silvopasture practices and farmer/landowner adoption
      Keefe Keeley – Savanna Institute, Co-Executive Director
    • Silvopasture: Liberating Oak Trees
      Tom Barthels – Snake River Farm
    • Silvopasture Learning Network – Engagement!
      Jeffrey Jackson – University of Minnesota Extension, Extension Educator
    • Summary of NRCS Programs for Silvopasture
      Celie Borndal – USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, State Forester

DAY 2: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 Morning

Caring for the Ecosphere

Allies for CLC Breakout Sessions

  • We heard from teams of partners from many sectors and perspectives coming
    together to create change on the landscape. Who are the partners? How did
    these partners find each other to begin with? What was the glue that made the
    partnerships stick? Did any initial partners fall away? What have some of the
    challenges been in bringing different perspectives together? We got new tips, tools
    and inspiration with candid assessments of what makes these partnerships tick
    and how they’re ultimately getting traction on the ground. 
Grasslands 2.0
  • Click here for combined slides
    • Fred Iutzi – President, The Land Institute 
    • Randall Jackson – UW Madison Agronomy, Professor
    • Carl Wepking – Grasslands 2.0 Project Manager, Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (GSBI) Executive Director
    • Laura Paine – Grasslands 2.0 Outreach Coordinator, Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, Program Director
Ingredients for Healthy Soil Partnership
  • Click here for combined slides
    • Liz Rupel – Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Policy Organizer
    • Kris Reynolds – American Farmland Trust, Midwest Deputy Director
Performance Based Conservation: A Pilot-Study in the Milwaukee River Basin
Target Drinking Water: Partnerships for a Diversified Agricultural Landscape
  • Click here for combined slides
    • Mark Muller – McKnight Foundation Mississippi River Program, Director
    • Margaret Wagner – Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Supervisor – Clean Water Technical Assistance Unit
    • Whitney Clark – Friends of the Mississippi River, Executive Director
    • Colin Cureton – UMN Forever Green Initiative, Supply Chain Development Specialist

Allies Changing Systems:      
A Small Scale Agricultural Model Transforming Land, Water, Production

  • The establishment of the Main Street Project farm outside of Northfield, MN, is a hopeful example of how the vision of a perennial production system can be embraced, supported, and realized with the help of other system actors and enthusiastic, consequential partners in transforming the landscape. Learn about the three-year transition of a conventional row crop operation on 100 acres to a collaborative project with three landowners and Dakota County to restore site hydrology, introduce perennial vegetation, and implement a regenerative agricultural operation.
  • Click here for slides
    • Julie Ristau – Main Street Project, Executive Director
    • Wyatt Parks – Main Street Project, Co-Farm Manager
    • Al Singer – Dakota County, MN, Land Conservation Manager
    • Paula Westmoreland – Ecological Design, Founder and Designer
    • Lindsay Rebhan – Ecological Design, Co-owner


Thank you to our conference sponsors!

Mississippi Basin Sponsor:


Forever Green is composed of teams of researchers, farmers, food product developers, and entrepreneurs from all aspects of the agricultural supply chain whose goal is to develop and promote the use of new crops that enhance water and soil quality. Each of the new agricultural enterprises require a unique strategy for implementation. The Forever Green team is focused on ensuring that these enterprises strengthen Minnesota’s economy while protecting water, soil, and other natural resources. Partners include: Green Lands Blue Waters; University of Minnesota Extension; Center for Integrated Natural Resources & Agricultural Management; Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture; USDA Agricultural Research Services.

Landscape Sponsors:


Farm Sponsor:




Field Sponsors:

Acre Sponsors:


Sustainable Farming Association logo


In Kind Sponsors: